Today’s data storage options are expanding fast. This is great news for businesses who seek more tailored options for their security needs. But it can make deciding on the right cloud model more challenging as well. For newcomers to the data security marketplace, the learning curve can be steep. In this post, learn how you can confidently choose the right cloud model for your needs to strengthen your data’s security, improve vendor and customer relations and drive business forward.
Types of Cloud Storage Systems
Today’s business owners have three basic types of cloud storage systems to choose from. In this section, gain an overview of what each type of storage system has to offer.
A public cloud storage system will definitely give you the most value for your funding if your data storage budget is tight. Because public clouds are the easiest storage system to implement and maintain, and security protocols do not need to be customized for each client, they are the most affordable of all data storage systems. The overarching reason the public cloud is so much cheaper than other options, however, is because of the ability the provider has to get more for the money and then leverage their own cost savings by farming out portions of the cloud to its own customers.
Many companies today still use the public cloud for the majority of their data storage needs and also host smaller businesses who need affordable cloud storage options inside their public cloud.
A private cloud is storage space that is dedicated to just your data, your company, your needs. So there is a tendency to get better performance for those who have the funds to afford them. Because your private cloud is reserved for your company’s needs alone, you will also enjoy better data security because you can customize your data security needs for your specific industry and business, including wrapping in any custom compliance needs you may have. You can also use other hardware and software with your private cloud and maintain full control over who uses the cloud and has access to stored sensitive data.
However, there is a risk in that if your private cloud experiences an outage for any reason, you will lose access to all of your stored data until service is restored.
A hybrid cloud, as its name suggests, combines elements of both the public and private cloud to control for costs and security needs. For example, if your company has a small amount of extremely sensitive data that absolutely requires top notch security and limited access, but has a larger amount of data (let’s say, data that must be stored for a minimum amount of time per industry compliance regulations) that is not so sensitive, a hybrid cloud can meet both needs in one system.
Hybrid clouds are becoming increasingly popular for precisely this reason. Companies don’t have to pay for the expense of hosting all data under a private cloud, but they can also tailor their storage needs directly to what their company and industry requires.
Other Cloud System Options to Consider
In addition to choosing the right basic model (public, private or hybrid) to ensure your data has the appropriate level of customized security, you will also want to select a model that can accommodate additional operational needs you may have. Some of the most common needs are listed here.
Remote Device Management
If your company includes staff using remote devices (tablets, phones, et al) to access data stored on the company server, you will likely want a cloud based model that can accommodate both use of and security for these devices.
In particular, you will want to be able to track how, when and how often staff access the company network. You will want to be able to wipe and deactivate any remote device that gets lost or stolen. And you will want to be able to set permission levels to control what level of data different employees have access to.
Add-ons and Outside Software Integration
If your company uses project management, accounting/bookkeeping, time tracking and other software and add-ons that are critical to daily operations, you will want to select a cloud system that can accommodate and integrate this outside software.
Many cloud systems today already offer integration for certain outside hardware and software, so the key is to check and see if the cloud system you are considering integrates easily with the hardware and software you are already using.
If your company is small right now but you have plans to grow and expand (whether domestically or internationally) you will want to be sure you select a cloud system that can grow with you. Typically this is called „scalability“ and refers to a system’s ability to accommodate changes in everything from storage space to security needs to the addition of remote devices and add-ons or outside software/hardware.
If you do plan to expand on an international level, you will want to select a hosting provider with existing familiarity with international business. This is because often country regulations can differ when it comes to how data is stored and secured, and you want to be sure your hosting provider is already equipped to handle those needs for you when the time comes.
How to Select the Right Cloud Hosting Provider
With this brief overview of your basic cloud options, you should have enough information to decide what type of cloud system you need – public, private or hybrid – and whether you will need additional features such as remote device management, scalability and integration.
Now all that is left is to assemble a short list of potential cloud hosting providers and select the provider that best meets your needs and budget.
Here are some considerations to factor in when making your final selection:
– Does the provider offer 24/7 customer and technical support?
– Does the provider have a good track record not just in the cloud hosting field but in your specific industry?
– Does the provider offer you a free trial period to use and test their system to be sure it meets your needs?
– Does the provider proactively apply all of the latest security protocols to guard against outages, breaches and attacks?
– Does the provider respond to your questions in a timely fashion and do you enjoy working with them?
– Does the provider offer a customized cloud storage solution that works with both your needs and your budget?
By taking time to brainstorm your specific cloud storage and data security needs, interview a small group of providers, compare and contrast offerings and evaluate offers, you can feel confident about selecting the storage provider that will best fit your company’s data storage and security needs now and in the future.